A statue depicting a turbaned Sikh soldier who fought during the World War I was unveiled in Smethwick, a town in the West Midlands region of England on Sunday.

The sculpture is in honour of the sacrifice made by millions of South Asian service soldiers fought as part of the British Indian Army in the world wars and other conflicts. The Lions of the Great War monument, a collaboration between the gurdwara and the local Sandwell Council, was commissioned by Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick.

“We are very proud to be bringing this memorial to honour the sacrifice of brave men who travelled thousands of miles to fight for a country that wasn’t their own,” said Jatinder Singh, president of Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick.

First World War, also known as the Great War, ended in November 1918. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the war and the 10-foot bronze statue was unveiled in Smethwick High Street to commemorate the end of the same.

Councillor Steve Eling, Leader of Sandwell Council said, “It’s so important we remember the sacrifices made by people for our country.”

“When I realised more than 1.5 million Indian soldiers had been sent to the First World War, I just could not understand why their contribution had been ignored for so long in this country,” said Like Perry, the artist who designed the statue.

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